Heads weekly review (1) 09 09 16

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9th September 2016 - Issue 1



Head’s Introduction Everyone remembers their first day at school. It is a mixture of great excitement, anticipation, uncertainty and, of course, brand-new shoes and smart new blazers. For many a teacher, the feeling of déjà-vu is reassuringly strong – while many are new, we have been here before. Beginnings are certainly exciting, but also tiring as every small habit that we have taken for granted is suddenly unfamiliar and something that we have to learn again. At the end of our first full week, I do hope that the girls feel a little less ‘new’ and that the important things, such as knowing some friendly faces, knowing their way around the site, and knowing where the dining room and Horizons are located, are that little bit easier. With almost 500 girls on site, there is a wonderful energy and buzz around the school. The co-curricular fair was packed with girls seeking out new activities and opportunities. Even though it was our first week, I saw auditions for the school play and for House Drama already underway. Roedean girls don’t hang about and there will be so much to enjoy in the Arts this term. In sport, we have seen a huge interest across a range of sports and it is clear that the Olympics and the incredible growth in the importance and centrality of women’s sports is having an impact.

Welcome to our 60 new Year 7 girls! We also have new girls in almost every year – we hope that you will all be very happy and successful at Roedean.

Roedean is committed to a holistic vision of education which means that we construct our curriculum, co-curricular activities and our trips to ensure that it is not just the girls’ minds that are educated, but the whole person. The whole of our Key Stage Three, along with twenty-two staff who have generously given up their days, will be heading out on residential trips next week. These help to ensure that the girls bond and integrate across their whole year group, and also face challenges together and grow different aspects of their character. This is what’s at the heart of a Roedean education and it is vital that parents and girls fully support this vision, in deed as well as word. It is all too easy to take the easier option in life, but I want Roedean girls to be resilient, adventurous, and to contribute fully and actively to their year group – whatever the weather. It is partly due, in my opinion, to this holistic vision that Roedean girls have achieved such excellent results both at A Level and GCSE this year. For the results at both stages to be the best ever is outstanding. At A2 level, 96% of all exams were awarded A*-C grades, and an exceptional 62% were A*-A grades; this represents a 7% increase on last year, which itself was 7% higher than the previous year. Two thirds of last year’s leavers have gone on to Russell Group universities, and all those

with Oxbridge and Medicine offers have taken up their places. At GCSE, 45% of all grades were awarded A*; I am proud that there were a good number of girls who achieved a string of top grades, but it is important to recognise that all the girls performed well, and turned B grades into As and C grades into Bs, in order to realise their full potential. These fantastic results underline the comments in our ISI report in May about the high-quality teaching and the girls’ positive and proactive approach to academic pursuits. The girls and staff worked very hard, and it is wonderful that this effort and diligence paid off. The Estates team have had a very busy summer, and their main focus has been a major refurbishment of Keswick House, to upgrade the girls’ rooms and the communal areas, and the transformation of the main hall will be complete by half-term. The result is that Keswick will be a very attractive hub for the entire Sixth Form, with different types of study spaces and a lovely modern common with views over the sea. We have also refurbished more classrooms and built the school farm over the holidays, and I am sure that the girls will love getting involved in helping to run it. I would like to reiterate my welcome to those girls and staff who are joining Roedean this year, and I wish you all a wonderful term ahead.

Musical distinction at Roedean! We are again delighted that our musicians achieved very highly in their Associated Board examinations last term. Of about 40 entering the exams, the following represent nearly a quarter who were awarded distinctions: • • • • • • • •

Hannah K Isabelle S-H Tabitha McC Eva F Lucy B Yongxi L Yelena F Gabriella K

Particular congratulations go to Gabriella, since being awarded a Distinction at Grade 8 when she was only in U4 is an impressive achievement.

Grade 1 Violin Grade 1 Violin Grade 2 Clarinet Grade 5 Violin Grade 5 Theory Grade 5 Theory Grade 7 Singing Grade 8 Saxophone



9th September 2016 - Issue 1

Roedean goes to NASA For fifteen girls and staff, the summer holidays started off with a bang with a trip to Florida to visit the Kennedy Space Center. The first three days were spent completing a project on robotics, which involved the girls building their own Mars lander robots. They had to learn how to programme its movements, including using a variety of different sensors and automated routines, and this culminated in a challenge to control the robots without seeing them directly, only using front mounted cameras, on a section of mock Mars surface material. The girls loved the experience, despite the difficulties they encountered.

There were many highlights of the trip, but going on a space shuttle simulator and seeing the Space Shuttle Atlantis, as well as meeting an astronaut, Mike Mullane, were certainly at the top of the list. The group also visited the socalled ‘rocket garden’, with actual-size models of the various different rockets that have been used, including the enormous Saturn 5 rockets, to help the girls appreciate the scale of the space craft. In addition to the main focus of the trip, the girls also had some time to enjoy the ‘Islands of Adventure’ theme park, which includes incredible rides themed around Harry Potter,

We have welcomed a number of new members of staff at Roedean this term, and these profiles, introducing them to you gradually, will give you a little insight into their backgrounds and interests: Miss Tara Whiteson (Second in English) Miss Whiteson studied for a BA in Philosophy at Sussex University, followed by a PGCE in English and an MA in Twentieth Century Literature. She has previously taught English and Media in the state sector, then at an all boys’ state school, and most recently at The Harrodian School, a co-ed independent school in Barnes. Her wide-ranging interests include literature, cooking and eating, keeping fit, and exploring Sussex. But her passion is anything feline; she has a lovely, chubby black and white cat called Indie, and she uses his photo in teaching power point presentations as often as she can! Mrs Leah Skipper (Housemistress of House 1 and MFL teacher)

King Kong, Jurassic Park, and Spiderman, and they experienced sky-diving in a vertical wind tunnel too. They also went on an airboat safari, seeing alligators, birds, and a variety of other animals indigenous to the area, and had a talk from a native American Indian on his clan, way of life, and the history of the region. The trip was a huge success – the girls learnt a great deal about space exploration and put their mathematical and scientific skills to the test, as well as taking advantage of the wide variety of opportunities available to them in Florida. DO

Mr Michael Anderson (Teacher of Maths) After being educated in Lincolnshire and Norfolk, Mr Anderson studied at Sheffield, Lincoln, and the Open universities. He was in the RAF as an aircraft electrician, working on Tornado and Harrier jets, and as an engineering officer, working on the design team for the Eurofighter/Typhoon and Joint Strike Fighter. After this, he worked in property development in the Caribbean and Gambia in West Africa, before moving into teaching. He has taught Maths and worked in boarding at a number of schools, including the Duke of York’s Royal Military School, Dover and St Edmund’s School, Canterbury. In his free time, he enjoys travelling, jazz, learning the saxophone, and Caribbean cookery. One thing you may be surprised about is that he also did a course for a month as a safari field guide in South Africa. Mrs Pascale Calcutt (Teacher of Maths) Mrs Calcutt was educated at Sevenoaks School and studied for her BA at Liverpool University, and completed postgraduate qualifications at Brighton and Sussex Universities. She was previously teaching Maths at Cumnor House School for four years, and has also spent ten years working in the Territorial Army as a musician. She enjoys playing the guitar and the trombone (but not at the same time!), walking her ginger fluffy dog, and visiting art galleries with her husband. Her slightly unusual hobby is oil painting, mainly portraits, and she has even sold some of her work, so perhaps she is a famous artist just waiting to be discovered!

Mrs Skipper spent her formative years at Oakham School where she learned how to speak excellent French and develop her love of performing on stage. The school obviously had a major impact on her as she then went back and taught there for eleven years! She studied French and Hispanic Studies at university in London, and she also learned Catalan and improved her Spanish when she spent a year in Catalunya. She worked in ‘the real world’ for a few years in an estate agency and for a billionaire art collector, but she missed the school holidays too much and became a teacher at Haileybury in 2003. In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, and was once a keen road cyclist… Page 2


Sixth Form Conference On the first Saturday of term, the Sixth Form were at a conference at school, taking part in some activities to help prepare them for the year ahead. Those in 6.1 heard from a visiting speaker about independent learning and practical techniques they can employ to work effectively and efficiently. In 6.2, they heard about interview techniques and other life skills

as part of talk entitled ‘Qualifications are not enough!’ In the afternoon, they all took part in a Bollywood dance workshop which was great fun, and also went trampolining at Skyhigh. In the evening, some also stayed for a pizza and DVD night, so a great time was had by all.

Nepal Eleven girls and two members of staff had a once in a lifetime experience in Nepal over the summer, participating in a Global Action trip. The country is still recovering from the devastating earthquake in April 2015, but it remains beautiful, with snow-capped mountain peaks, and with golden stupas glinting in the sunlight. In Nepal, we discovered a country that is rich in culture and forward-thinking in its approach to equality and diversity. We visited NGOs who were working not just to repair villages that were destroyed after the earthquake, but to empower them, with a social and economic infrastructure that would enable every member of the community to contribute, and to collaborate with other communities in the area. We discovered incredible innovations in mapping seismic activity and information sharing, in sustainable energy sources, and in supporting both men and women with the impact of changing gender roles. We had such wonderful experiences, almost too many to mention: we visited temples, meditated, and taught monks English; we celebrated the Dalai Lama’s birthday in a Tibetan refugee camp, where we dug a hole to house a tank that would provide the camp with fresh water; we performed a traditional Scottish dance in exchange for the wealth of Tibetan and Nepali ones we had been shown; we trekked for 5 days in the Himalayas to an

elevation of over 3000 feet whilst climbing over 3000 steps; we white water rafted in the rain, played Tigers and Goats with Gurkha veterans, and so much more besides. In fact, we very rarely glimpsed the snow-capped peaks of the Annapurna mountain range as it was the wrong time of year, but in the evenings, over a mug of hot lemon and a game of cards, someone would point to a parting in the clouds and we would share a moment seeing the awesome geographical context of where we were. All these memories will stay with us for a very long time to come. The Roedean girls were an absolute credit to the school; they were, without exception, kind, resilient, resourceful, pragmatic, strong, intelligent, thoughtful and determined. These students spent two years preparing and fundraising for this trip, and it was a huge success. This trip is a perfect example of the girls appreciating the value of Roedean’s holistic approach to education – while working hard at school, they also raised money to fund it, and they will, no doubt, draw on this experience in the future as inspiration to push themselves hard to achieve as highly as they can. HBO Page 3

9th September 2016 - Issue 1

Teacher training in Cambodia Over the summer, Mr Fletcher from the Maths department spent a week in Cambodia working with trainee teachers. With the stunning Khmer temples of Angkor Wat as a backdrop, he worked as part of a team which taught with primary and junior school teachers who had up to 75 students in each class. He worked with teacher trainers, preparing a group of 32 adults aged between 17 and 21 to become teachers. They had none of the modern technology which we enjoy, no iPads or computers, just a simple blackboard and chalk. He found the week very humbling, and most of all thoughtprovoking. What an amazing experience!

9th September 2016 - Issue 1


Ballet at Advanced 2 for Roedean girls At the end of last term, MoMo W and Charlotte W took their Advanced 2 RAD ballet examinations. To work at this level is an exceptional achievement in its own right, and dancers often only reach this point after a number of years at ballet school, and in Roedean’s history there has only been one other girl to attain this standard before. The girl in question arrived at the school already working at this level, whereas MoMo and Charlotte are truly Roedean trained and have gone through their Intermediate, Advanced Foundation, Advanced 1, and now Advanced 2 with us. We are therefore even more proud that MoMo gained a Pass and Charlotte achieved a Merit – congratulations to both of them. SMS

Roedean netballers qualify for the county teams Congratulations to four girls who were in action in their netball teams last Saturday. Both CD Phoenix (U14) and Mid Sussex Netball (U13) were playing in qualifying tournaments for Netball South’s 2016/17 Regional Leagues. Both teams qualified against very high quality opposition from all over the South region. CD Phoenix U14 featured sisters Amalia and Yelena F and Ella L, and MSN U13 featured Bonnie W. On the following day, MSN U16 were competing for a place in the older age-group Regional League, and they qualified very strongly, with Roedeanian Freya F performing very well. After two earlier rounds of trials to whittle down a large field, several Roedean girls took part in the final trials on Tuesday evening at Chichester Dome; the trials were to select the players for the Sussex County Satellite Academies, which are the county teams at U14. We are delighted that 3 Roedean girls qualified for the Satellite Academy 1 (Amalia and Yelena F, and Bonnie W), and Ella L qualified for Satellite Academy 2.

Roedean sisters excel in Athletics After her amazingly successful season in Athletics, in July this year, Amber A (U5) won the English Schools’ Intermediate Girls’ 300m title and achieved her first international selection as a result. She was very proud to represent England, winning the Home Countries’ Schools’ International 300m race, and she won a second Gold Medal, anchoring the 4x300m relay team to victory. She then rounded off the season with another Gold medal representing the South West of England in the Schools’ Games, beating athletes from Scotland Ireland, and other regions of England, meaning that she has been unbeaten for two years at the 300 metre distance. At a time when all eyes are on sport at the Olympics in Rio, perhaps Amber’s successes are pointing to an Olympian of the future! Not to be outdone, Ruby (L4) is following in her older sister’s footsteps, and has also had a successful summer on the track. In July,

Amelie’s on the podium again! In August this year, Amelie represented England at the UDO World Street Dance Championships in Glasgow, which lasted three days was the biggest to date with 330 Teams and over 3000 Dancers from 30 countries. She came third in Advanced U14 crew and duo, and 4th in the solos. She deserves particular congratulations, because every dancer had placed in the top 3 in the regional or national championships to qualify to take part, so competition was stiff. Her dance success has attracted the attention of the media, and you may well have seen her in some television adverts over the year: she featured in the Christmas Iceland advert for 2015, and in the Robinson’s Fruit Shoot advert for 2016, and she is the main representative in the current WWF Wear it Wild advertising campaign. However, over the summer, Amelie also filmed an advert in Portugal for JC Penney, and this is now airing on American television, so her fame has spread across the Atlantic – well done to her!

We welcome contributions from all parts of the Roedean community. If you have something you would like featured in the Headmaster’s Weekly Review, please email: news@roedean.co.uk Page 4

she became Sussex Champion over 75 and 150 metres, and she was also Silver medallist in the Discus and in the 4 x 100 metre relay. She broke the Sussex U13 League record for 150 metres, with a stunning time of 19.7 seconds, which places her 8th in the UK rankings over that distance and tops the all-time list in Sussex. At the end of July, Ruby was selected to represent Sussex at the South of England U13 Inter-counties match, where the best young athletes from the South compete. She was the Bronze medallist in the 200 metres, and her time of 27.2 seconds takes her to No.10 in the UK rankings for 2016. The sisters should both be very proud of their achievements, and we look forward to hearing what they can achieve next season. JJ WHAT’S


Mon 12 Sept

U3 & L4 Bushcraft residential trip U4 Kingswood residential trip

Tues 13 Sept

U3 & L4 Bushcraft residential trip U4 Kingswood residential trip Hockey 1st XI vs Seaford College (A)

Wed14 Sept

U3 & L4 Bushcraft residential trip U4 Kingswood residential trip

Thur 15 Sept

Hockey U15A vs Bede’s (H) Hockey U14B vs Bede’s (A)

Fri 16 Sept

6.1 & 6.2 Oxford Open Days 6.1 & 6.2 Pizza and Movie Night

Sat 17 Sept

Hockey U12A & B Tournament at Farlington (A) Hockey 1st XI, U14A & U15A vs Brighton College (H)

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